A Boatin’ Mon

Jim wrote and submitted this story last week. Michael Pisano, Lake Park’s Marina Director, would pass away just a few days later. Mike was a “boatin’ mon” too. The town of Lake Park has lost a co-worker and friend. Our prayers go out to all who shared life with Mike. He will be sorely missed.

Written by Jim Lloyd

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There are boaters, and there are Boaters. My dear wife and I are Boaters. What’s the difference you ask? I can’t answer that easily. As you read this, we are out on our boat. It has all the conveniences of home…berth (bed), galley (kitchen), head (bathroom). And more.

It’s that more part that’s hard to define. Freedom. Waking up early and drinking a freshly brewed cup of coffee and watching dolphins swimming just off starboard (right) bow (the pointy end of the boat). That’s a mother dolphin teaching her young one how to live as a mammal in the water. Way up there are a bunch of big birds soaring. (Once we saw a huge PINK flamingo cruising along solo at about a thousand feet. What a sight.) And jeese, it must be snook season… they’re swirling in the water just below and I don’t have a line in. Dummy!

Those who believe in genetic memory will explain that those cave dwellers who first floated on logs out in the river or offshore to try to catch a fish to eat thousands of years ago, reproduced. And we Boaters are their off-spring, hundreds of generations later. That sounds too simple. I think boating is a confirmable form of personality disorder. Why else would one spend way too much money to go out and float around on the water? No, no… it’s a deep question.

But I digress. Not everybody boats. Not everybody wants to. One begins very early in life to prioritize. Some have THE electronic toy of the season. Some wear THE clothes of the school year. Some drive THE car of the decade. Some live in THE neighborhood of a lifetime. And there are those of us who choose to float. (And of course there are those who can do all of the above, but mostly they are not Boaters.)

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Where was I? Oh yes, boating, Lake Park, the marina… Why is our one hundred and eight slip (boat dock) marina occupied by thirty plus boats? In my humble opinion, because the circumstances of local politics allowed land lubbers (those who know nothing about boating, nor love it, nor have the least bit of genetic memory of floating around on logs a million years ago) to run the damn thing and make all the decisions. The successful municipal marinas hire a person who is a Boater (and our Mike is a Boater) and let them run the marina with a great deal of autonomy. Lake Park (during the Reign of Terror), hired Mike, but Maria ran it. She ran everything. She’s no Boater.

At twenty-two dollars and fifty cents per foot per month, people (including us) keep their boats where it’s way more affordable. And all those empty slips aren’t making Lake Park a dime. So do we charge what she thought we should… or do we charge what a boater would?? And make a little money for the town? (Instead of LOSING over three hundred thousand dollars a year of taxpayer money???) (Jamie, are you listening?)

But I digress into politics and I promised lots of people I wouldn’t… so…has this weather been why we live here or what? These past few days have been perfect boating weather. We are out right now moored in what could only be described as a perfect little cove. While I’m sitting here finishing my coffee and wondering why in Heaven’s name I’m not trying for one of those giant tasty snook… I just can’t imagine being anywhere else or doing anything else… except maybe floating on a log…